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Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. Thompson Funeral Homes are honored to be a part of our community. We are here not only to serve the Midlands with compassion and respect, but as a neighbor to all. Our doors and our hearts are open everyday — as well as in your time of need. We invite you to call or stop by to pick up your own free personal planning guide and meet our licensed funeral directors and cremation specialists.
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At Lexington Medical Center, we want you to lead a long and healthy life.
And we’re here to help you do just that. Our experienced physicians, nurses and health professionals want nothing more than to help make you well again. Our network of care includes more than 70 physician practices in Richland and Lexington counties. Our community medical and urgent care centers offer lab work, diagnostic tests, outpatient surgery and after-hours care. And our state-of-the-art hospital stands ready to care for you whether you’re welcoming a new baby, seeking treatment for cancer or need surgery for your heart. Whenever you need us, Lexington Medical Center is here for you. So if you don’t already have a doctor or you’re looking for a new one, visit LexMed.com/Doctors. We wish you a lifetime of good health and happiness.
JULY Saturday, July 23rd Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival NoMa Warehouse and Indah Coffee, 2222 Sumter St., Columbia, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Tasty Tomato Festival is back in the historic, community-driven neighborhood of Cottontown! Enjoy the cool indoors of NoMa Warehouse and Indah Coffee while things heat up with live music and plenty of vendors outside on Sumter Street. Experience favorites like tomato tasting, live music, kids activities, sustainability talks, loads of arts, farming, environmental vendors, and more. Come hungry and thirsty! For tickets and details visit tastytomatofestival.org. Saturday, August 6th, 2022 Coaches’ Wives Night Out Embasssy Suites, Greystone Hall, 200 Stoneridge Drive Columbia, 12:00 p.m This event brings coaches’ wives from all over
the area together. Whether you’re a girlfriend, fiance’, wife, or retiree, this event is for you! Come and enjoy lunch, listen to 3 speakers, connect with other coaches’ wives, shop with our vendors, and be prepared to win some prizes! For details and information visit cwnosc. wixsite.com, call 843-685-7544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Friday, August 5th Brew at the Zoo Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tap into this sell-out event that supports wildlife and wild places with samples of cold, frothy beer. From domestics to imports to specialty micros, guests can choose their brew and meander through the Zoo or hang out in the plaza and listen to live music. Concessions also will be available for purchase. No one under 21 will be admitted. Visit Riverbanks.org for tickets and details.
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Features 12 Meet Maestra Suzanna Pavlovsky 18 Palmetto Civitan Club 24 Risks and Benefits of Raw Honey 30 Meera Bhonsle Miss South Carolina USA
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Kevin Thumpston Lead Pastor Watershed Fellowship www.watershedfellowship.org Plunder: Unearthing Truth For Marketplace And Ministry Leadership
There are a lot of ways you can grow as a leader, but I agree with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (RET.)—reading books tops the chart as a tool for the formation of great leaders. He comments in his book, The Leader’s Bookshelf: Leaders are forged through a combination of parenting, teaching, training, educating, and gaining vibrant real world experiences—effectively practicing to be better leaders. The experiences that shape them along the road matter deeply in the formation of effective leaders....But I have come to believe that throughout all of those important developmental steps, perhaps the single best way a leader can learn and grow is through reading. In their new book Read To Lead, Jeff Brown and Jesse Wisnewski also champion the call to be a lifelong learner and the need to read if you are going to make it in the shape-shifting marketplace. They challenge professionals: A lifelong learner is someone who is self-motivated and committed to gaining new knowledge and skills. You have many ways to accomplish this goal—you can get a new degree, obtain a graduate certificate, or take online courses. At times, some of these options may be best for you and what you want to accomplish. But one of the best, most affordable, and flexible ways you can improve yourself professionally is by reading books. For this very reason, I have plundered the writings of creatives, community leaders, theologians, idea junkies, and influencers to grow as a leader. After reading too many books to admit, I realized that most of the time-tested principles were actually biblical principles that the authors had plundered, whether they knew it or not. I began sharing my findings “plunders” with other leaders in the form of a lunch and learn. The result is my newest book, Plunder: Unearthing Truth For Marketplace And Ministry Leadership. The book is designed to encourage leaders with the authors’ insights and the biblical basis for the principles. Each plunder is about eight pages with questions to reflect on individually and with your leadership team. Add it to your summer reading list to build your leadership toolbox (available on Amazon). Happy plundering! n Coffee @ 10:00 | Worship Gathering @ 10:30 Live streaming on Facebook Live @watershedfellowship
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Best of Lexington Life!
Nominate your favorite local businesses at Lexingtonlife.com The top three nominees in each category will be listed on the 2023 Best of Lexington ballot that will run in the September, October, November and December issues of Lexington Life Magazine. Nomination deadline is Friday, July 15th.
July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 9
10 | LEXINGTON LIFE | July 2022
by Jackie Perrone
“You are unique and valuable! Therefore you must ACT unique and valuable!” These words issued by the B-C Diva will be recognized instantly by the thousands of students who have crossed her path over the past 25 years. “I told them that every day,” Lynn Summer says. It’s the mantra that has carried her relationships with her students into retirement, providing an unforgettable boost toward success in life. Lynn Summer has another slogan she likes to express: “Cayce Born, Cayce Bred- When I die, I’ll be Cayce dead.” Her father, her siblings, her aunt, as well as her husband and their three sons (“The Boys of Summer”), all attended Brookland-Cayce schools. She earned the sobriquet B-C Diva through her dedication, sass, and encyclopedic knowledge of those schools. She grew up just one block from B-C High School, where she graduated in 1975. At Lander University, she continued her habit of joining enthusiastically into campus life, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health/Physical Education/Recreation and Dance in 1980, the same year that she married her high school sweetheart Randy Summer. When they became parents, Lynn and Randy agreed that she would focus fulltime on their children, three rambunctious lexingtonlife.com
boys. For 16 years, she convinced them that her favorite thing to do was sitting on hot or freezing bleacher seats cheering them on, fishing and hiking and supporting their causes. Then, she embarked on what would become a memorable career in education, devoting that same degree of enthusiasm to the school which had been so important in her life. To this day, if you need to know something from the past at B-C High, she probably knows the answer herself, and alternatively can report where to find it. Her 2019 retirement brought out a cluster of honors, topping off the many awards she has earned over her decades as an educator, including induction into the Lexington 2 Hero and Heroines Award (voted by district teachers), Brookland-Cayce Educators Hall of Fame, the only key to the city of Cayce ever awarded, Teacher of the Year numerous times, a Faculty Service Award, and the Scooter Scott Project, an after-school program. “The Boys of Summer” sum up her life so far this way:” She will always be a mentor and a teacher, loving and laughing, celebrating what is being grown and nurtured in the hearts of every unique and valuable soul that she encounters.” What does Lynn have to say about her extraordinary life? “I still try to live by those words (unique and valuable) and help someone if you have the opportunity. I pray that I will be able to continue to make a difference in my community and reach out to others. I was the teacher, but I learned a lot of life lessons from students and their parents. I was beyond amazed at God’s grace in this opportunity of a lifetime. It was not my plan to become a teacher, it was God’s, and to him I give all the glory.” n July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 11
Meet Maestra Suzanna
“Exposure to the arts is an integral part of the human experience.” by Linnette Rochelle Photos by Dimitry Pavlovsky.
r. Suzanna Pavlovsky was born into a world of musical arts. Music is akin to oxygen for the Maestra and her passion for it shines through in the many sacrifices she makes to enrich the community with her gifts. Outside a two-year dry spell following the completion of her doctoral program in orchestral conducting from the University of South Carolina, her life has always been filled with music and the arts. When asked how she became so interested in becoming a conductor, Pavlovsky said, “Everything starts with family.” Her mother was a music teacher who began teaching her how to play piano at age four. Pavlovsky also attended her first ballet that same year at the Alisher Naboiy theater and opera house in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. No one under the age of seven was allowed to attend. However, her mother reminded them that this was a family event and explained that she was fully confident Suzanna would be able to appreciate it. Her determination paid off and Suzanna was permitted to see Cinderella. With a pair of tiny binoculars in hand, little Suzanna zoned in on the orchestra. She watched the conductor lead the various instruments while following along with the ballet. “It was magic to me! It was pure magic!” Throughout childhood and adolescence, she used binoculars to watch the interplay between the conductor and the artists at every ballet, opera, or symphony 12 | LEXINGTON LIFE | July 2022
she attended. With such a background, she said, “Becoming an artist was a very natural process for me.” At fourteen years of age, Suzanna had been accepted into and attended Music College in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, while simultaneously completing all necessary coursework to graduate from High School. Upon graduation, she obtained both a high school diploma and a certification in teaching music theory, musicology, and the piano. She continued to earn many scholarships and awards over the course of her academic and professional career. Having been born in Uzbekistan, one of the former republics of the USSR, the Maestra credits the fall of the Iron Curtain with allowing her to immigrate to Israel when she was 22 years old. It was then that she was able to pursue her dream of becoming a conductor. Having moved around a lot throughout her life, Pavlovsky has lived in Uzbekistan, Israel, and Canada, and eventually made her home in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband and son. The Maestra is currently a member of the College Music Society, the League of American Orchestras, and the Conductors Guild. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory & Musicology from the Ashrafi Conservatory of Music in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1990) as well as Bachelor of Arts in Orchestral Conducting from Tel Aviv University in Israel (1995). She obtained her Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Michigan State University in 1998, and her Master of Music in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York in 2006. She
earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Orchestral Conducting from the University of South Carolina in 2010. Having taught for many years privately and in colleges, she is currently an adjunct professor at Midland’s Technical College for Music Appreciation as well as Maestra for local community orchestra, Palmetto Chamber Orchestra, and local professional performing arts production company, Ensemble Eclectica! During her time in Israel, Pavlovsky had entered a conducting competition in which she was the only female entrant. Maestro Mendi Rodan, a renowned conductor and former music director of the Jerusalem Philharmonic Orchestra, was not fond of
July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 13
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female conductors. However, he said to Pavlovsky, “You’re the only one from all the finalists I’ve seen today who has talent. You have to continue your musical education. You have a bright future.” This was a great encouragement to the young Maestra and made her more determined than ever to become a career conductor. After obtaining her doctorate at the University of South Carolina, Pavlovsky’s dreams dried up due to lack of career opportunities in her field. After going through a two-year dry spell without music, she wrestled with the idea that perhaps it was time for her to give up music altogether. However, she found she could not. An opportunity to assist another local conductor arose. She took the opportunity and this, at last, brought her into the realm of the local arts community. The more Dr. Pavlovsky became involved in the local arts community, the more she realized how desolate the greater Columbia area is in regard to the arts. Wanting to change this, a dream of starting a community orchestra began to take shape. The local volunteer musicians who work full-time jobs needed an outlet for sharing their gifts, and the community needed opportunities to enjoy them. So, Pavlovsky formed the Palmetto Chamber Orchestra (PCO) in 2015. During COVID-19, Pavlovsky was very sensitive to the needs of her musicians. She understood that making music is essential for their mental health. So, the Palmetto Chamber Orchestra continued rehearsals. The isolation became too much for many local musicians from other music organizations. When they found out PCO was still rehearsing, they asked if they could join them. Due to this, Pavlovsky’s community orchestra has grown since its conception from an all strings orchestra of 14 members to a fully-fledged chamber orchestra with 35 members. It now includes strings, woodwinds, partial brass, and percussion. Pavlovsky stated, “If I can do something to make people feel better, to share with them and teach them what I know, I want to do it.” Pavlovsky chooses the music creatively and trains the group professionally. Though it is a community group and, therefore made up of volunteers, for her it is not a social club. They work hard. While most of the members work full-time in other careers, there are also a few retirees. Pavlovlexingtonlife.com
sky stated proudly that the oldest members are a 90 year old percussionist and his 89 year old wife who plays the violin. They are beloved members of the orchestra. During a lot of soul searching, Pavlovsky came to realize that love for the classical arts is dying out with the older generations. She wondered how she could encourage the younger generations to become interested before the classics became a lost art altogether. So, she formed Ensemble Eclectica! in 2016. This production team is made up of paid professional musicians as opposed to volunteers. It utilizes styles and artistic tastes from a modern artistic collaboration of musicians, vocalists, dancers, visual artists, and other professional media. These productions include a variety of genres such as classical, jazz, blues, rock, and more. While many performers of Ensemble Eclectica! are local and non-local professional performers, she also works with local dance studios and arts schools/teachers, providing opportunities for their students to take part in the production. Her goal is to stimulate audience appreciation for the arts through this interdisciplinary format. Fully believing that, “exposure to the arts is an integral part of the human experience,” Pavlovsky pours her heart and soul into these productions. She creates, orchestrates, directs, and produces them out of her own imagination in collaboration with fellow artists. Dr. Pavlovsky hopes to encourage everyone to become more involved in the local arts community – whether as artists, spectators and appreciators, or doners. On August 27, 2022, the Maestra and Ensem-
ble Eclectica! will be coming to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College for a magical production. The program will be unique and multi-faceted, including timeless pieces from the classical repertoires of Shostakovich, Bizet, Chaplin, and Granados to songs by Sinatra, Armstrong, Lennon, and more. The multi-genre interdisciplinary production will feature live musicians, Tango dancers, ballet numbers, a visual arts exhibit, and so much more. In Dr. Suzanna Pavlovsky’s mind, there is nothing like art to enrich the lives of all who partake. The Maestra warmly invites you join her in this magical evening with Ensemble Eclectica! in their production of “What a Wonderful World!” n July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 15
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Palmetto CIVITAN CLUB
Builders of Good Citizenship by Natalie Szrajer 18 | LEXINGTON LIFE | July 2022
“We are small and mighty; we’ve done a lot of impressive work. As we grow, it will get better from there. We just need to keep growing,” says Emily Wright, President of the Palmetto Civitan Club in Lexington. The club’s purpose is to serve the community with an emphasis on people with Autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. Local Palmetto Civitan Clubs are held under the arms of the state organization, Civitan in SC. Civitan in SC is the state district with Civitan International being a worldwide movement with over 800 clubs across the world. In addition to the state districts and local chapters, Civitan also has Junior Civitan clubs for middle and high school groups as well as Campus Civitan for college students. After being inspired by the passion of the Columbia chapter of the Civitan Club, Wright with Kathy McPherson took the initiative of contacting and collaborating with local individuals and businesses to develop a program in Lexington. After six months of networking, securing memberships and holding informational meetings, the Lexington Chapter of the Palmetto Civitan Club was successfully chartered and ready to serve in 2017. Wright along with McPherson are the two original charter members of Palmetto Civitan Club. The Palmetto Civitan Club has adopted two Babcock Center group homes to serve in the Lexington area, one for men and one for women. The Babcock Center’s mission is to provide support and resources to allow disabled individuals to live as independently as possible in a home-like environment. “We meet with these people at the park and have barbecues,” she said. “They love having us and we love just hanging out with them. You can just see the joy on their faces.” When the pandemic hit and face to face interactions were limited, members delivered party trays as a reminder that the residents were not forgotten. Civitan members also occasionally provide child or adult care within the Babcock homes, assisting with tasks, entertaining residents or playing with children. This is an opportunity for new volunteers to learn first-hand how to interact, help and encourage special needs residents from trained staff. A huge long-term goal of the Palmetto Civitan Club is to provide a housing community suitable for people with various special needs; a safe place with appropriate accommodations where they can live and thrive as citizens. In addition to providing a housing community, Wright expresses the need for job training and recreational opportunities that would develop skills while laying the foundation for relationships and comradery, “As Civitans, we work to build and to support this goal,” said Wright. Education and character building begins at home, and Wright has a vision for a parent resource center offering information and tools for guidance when parents realize that their child may have some sort of disability or special need. “Right now, when someone thinks their child has a disability, it’s very difficult to navigate the system. It’s like stumbling around in the dark,” says Wright, who has a daughter with autism. “We want to point people to resources that exist; not simply diagnose someone. We want to be able to answer questions and give people a starting point so it won’t be so big and confusing. It’s difficult and we want to make it easier for parents.” lexingtonlife.com
CIVITAN CREED I AM CIVITAN: as old as life, as young as the rainbow, as endless as time. MY HANDS do the work of the world and reach out in service to others. MY EARS hear the cry of children and the call throughout the world for peace, guidance, progress, and unity. MY EYES search for others to join in the fellowship and service of Civitan. MY MOUTH utters the call to daily duty and speaks prayers in every tongue.
Often there are situations where schools and daycare facilities do not have employees equipped to handle certain needs of kids with various disabilities. The Civitan Club has plans for a project that would fund in-person learning labs and after-school care programs for special needs children. This program would help parents of school-aged kids with tutoring and provide adequate guidance and mentoring from trained professionals. Paving the Way While volunteering, fundraising and promoting events like the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine formal at Mt Horeb U.M.C. and the annual S.C. Special Olympics summer games are avenues for Civitan members to support people with special needs, items needed for basic needs, supplies and resources are expensive and very limited. One way the group gathers financial support for these events and other endeavors is by placing coin boxes at participating businesses in Lexington. The coin boxes provide an easy way for people to drop their loose change into the box and contribute to the Civitan’s local missions throughout the city and county. The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment located in Columbia has been a strong, dedicated partner of the Palmetto Civitan Club of Lexington. Formerly known as the Autism Academy, the Unumb Center has a mission to help autistic people reach their full potential by providing comprehensive, evidence-based services and collaborative solutions to the autism community. The founders of The Unumb Center, Lorri and Dan Unumb, are also members of the Civitan Club. After their son was diagnosed at age 2 with autism, Lorri, a University of South Carolina alumna, and her husband became actively involved in advocating rights and benefits for individuals on the autism spectrum. How You Can Help “We would love to grow and diversify our club,” said Wright, “We have a good core group of big-hearted people.” Most of us know of someone or are related to someone with a special need or disability who could benefit from the resources that the Palmetto Civitan Club of Lexington offers. Getting involved physically or financially is easy--the group is open to anyone who wants to help and desires to forward their mission. Churches, schools and businesses are encouraged to partner with the Civitan Club to find mutual ways to benefit each other while offering training, support and resources for special needs adults and children both in the home and the workplace. n lexingtonlife.com
MY MIND teaches me respect for law and the flag of my country. MY HEART beats for every friend, bleeds for every injury to humanity, and throbs with joy at every triumph of truth. MY SOUL knows no fear but its own unworthiness. MY HOPE is for a better world through Civitan. MY MOTTO: builders of good citizenship. MY BELIEF: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. MY PLEDGE: to practice the Golden Rule and to build upon it a better and nobler citizenship.
Palmetto Civitan Club of Lexington PalmettoCivitan@gmail.com SC District: civitansc.org Facebook.com/PalmettoCivitians July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 19
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ATeamAdvocacy LLC It has been said that experiences mold a person’s character. Maighan Mears, owner of ATeamAdvocacy LLC, is a prime example of that statement. As a single mother of 3 and a survivor of childhood trauma, she has found peace by assisting people in making difficult long term care decisions that many of us would prefer not to think about at all. Named after her children, Alyssa, Andon and Avery, “ATeamAdvocacy LLC” was developed and her children drive her to provide optimal medical assistance, education and resources for patients and family members to help them make the transition process less complicated. At the age of 15 Maighan’s older brother, Brandon, was brutally murdered. A graduate of Lexington High School, she kept her faith and family ties strong and persevered during that time period. Becoming a single mother at a young age presented a challenge but also developed a deeper level of nurturing, compassion and confidence as she began to realize her
true potential and calling. Maighan now wants to be the person she needed at the age of 12, when she was forced to be a caregiver after her brother’s death. In 2009 she secured a nursing degree and became LPN/Charge Nurse for Lexington Medical Center Extended Care/Carroll Campbell Place and then Palmetto Health Richland Family Medicine in Columbia, earning the title “Nurse of the Year”. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease would become Maighan’s area of expertise; focusing on managing symptoms and improving quality of life while attempting to identify the underlying causes as to why these diseases occur. Knowing how to relate to, care for and communicate with victims of progressive brain disorders can greatly improve the quality of the senior’s interactions with family and friends. A close relationship with her grandparents gave Maighan first-hand experience and insight on caregiving. As the Health and Wellness Director of Nursing at Agape Senior West Columbia/Lexington in 2011, she managed the staff and created care plans for geriatric, assisted living, hospice and memory care patients, educating and advocating for them and their families. Helping others is a powerful part of personal healing. Maighan has continually supported and guided seniors along with family members in their most desperate time of need even as her father
at 61 years old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2018. Being patient, creative and strategic with patient routines, medications, behaviors and their physical environment can make a huge impact. Within the last 10 years she has served at Gentiva Home Health and NHC Home Health as a home health nurse, and Brookdale Senior of Columbia as a Health and Wellness Director. After losing all 4 of her grandparents within a year during the pandemic, Maighan is continuing to center her life around serving others. ATeamAdvocacy LLC has relationships and resources with mobile physicians, hospices, adult services, mental health services, PT/OT/ ST services, pain management programs, home health, sitters, orthopedic practices, etc. to deliver anything you may need. “It is my passion to assist and direct others while building intimate relationships and strong community networks to serve patients in every stage of life.”
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July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 23
w a R Risks and Health Benefits
by Marcy Roberts
Raw honey is not the same as extracted or refined honey; it has not been heat-treated, diluted with water, or filtered. It retains its natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. However, raw honey can contain bacteria that can make you ill. If you are looking to start consuming raw honey on a regular basis, it’s important to understand how this type of honey differs from its processed counterparts. The health benefits of raw honey make it a worthwhile addition to your diet, as long as you keep in mind that the risks associated with raw honey indicate that it is not suitable for everyone. Here’s what you need to know about this sweet elixir: Rich in beneficial enzymes and vitamins One of the health benefits of raw honey is that it is rich in enzymes and vitamins. It has a wide array of B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and pantothenic acid. Raw honey also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K. Many people take supplements to get enough vitamins and minerals.
But what many people don’t realize is that your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Likewise, your body can make B vitamins with the help of enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that play several key roles in the human body. They help your body digest food, synthesize nutrients, and regulate metabolic pathways. 24 | LEXINGTON LIFE | July 2022
It may help manage body weight Another health benefit of raw honey is that it may help manage body weight because of its high fructose content. Fructose is a simple sugar that is naturally occurring in honey. Many people are aware that added sugar is bad for their health. However, few people know that even natural sweeteners like honey can be bad for you. One of the health risks of raw honey is that it can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. Excess intake of fructose has been linked to obesity and metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. For this reason, consuming a small bit of raw honey is a healthy way to sweeten your food with the recommended daily intake being about one to two teaspoons per day.
bination will provide relief from a cough and soothe a sore throat. Raw honey can be applied topically to ease the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It can be used to treat minor burns Raw honey can be applied directly to the skin. However, it is important to
Helps knock out cold and flu symptoms Raw honey has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help knock out cold and flu symptoms like a sore throat, cough, and congestion. You can make a homemade cough syrup by mixing raw honey with a little bit of lemon juice. This comlexingtonlife.com
remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the honey before application. You can use a clean cloth to remove any impurities from the surface of the honey. Note: Some sources recommend against raw honey for topical application to burns and injuries. This is not the fault of the honey, but the fact that you do not know how it has been harvested and packaged. If there are contaminants in the process, they could be harmful to an open wound. It may have anti-aging benefits Raw honey is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the byproducts of cellular metabolism. They are also produced by exposure to environmental toxins. The antioxidants in honey help to
neutralize these free radicals, reducing aging and DNA damage. While it is not yet conclusive that raw honey has anti-aging benefits, evidence suggests that honey is a powerful antioxidant source. For example, a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that fermented honey, similar to what is found in raw honey, can slow down the oxidation of human blood. Possible allergy relief The theory for why local raw honey may help to prevent allergies concerns the pollen. Bees make the honey from pollen that they collect from local plants. Some of these are the same plants that cause allergies. The belief is that consuming local raw honey over time will build up your immunity to the pollens. There have been no thorough studies of this belief, but many people have attested to having fewer allergy attacks after consuming local raw honey regularly over time.
Raw honey for a healthy digestive system Because it is packed with enzymes, raw honey makes a great digestive aid. You can add raw honey to Skittles to make a soothing throat lozenge or even use it to help calm an upset stomach. Many digestive health problems can be reduced by taking enzymes as a supplement. This is because enzymes help to break down your food and aid in nutrient absorption, which can be compromised in people with digestive issues. The risks of raw honey While the health benefits of raw honey far outweigh the risks, you should be aware that it contains bacteria, including the common species called Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism. Sometimes called infant botulism, this is the reason you should not give raw honey to children. The risk of contracting botulism from honey is extremely low. Nevertheless, you should be careful about storing honey. Make sure it is stored in a sealed container in a dark, dry place. Do not store honey in the refrigerator, as this will damage the beneficial enzymes in the honey. Again, do not feed raw honey to infants younger than 12 months old. Raw honey is not the same as processed honey that has been heated and filtered. It is unprocessed and retains its natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. It is also packed with beneficial antioxidants that can help slow aging and fight disease. Raw honey is not suitable for infants, pregnant women, and people with allergies to bees or pollen. It may also increase your risk of contracting botulism if stored improperly. Despite these risks, raw honey makes a delicious topping for toast, honey-roasted nuts, and other snacks. n July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 25
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Miss South Carolina USA
by Natalie Szrajer
Meera Bhonsle didn’t let intimidation get the best of her when she decided to compete in the Miss South Carolina USA pageant despite prior trials and placements. When she decided she was going to compete in the 2022 competition, she told herself this would be her last year and she was just going to have fun. “God had other plans,” she stated about the two-day competition. “A bunch of people nudged me to try the Miss USA system but I had preconceived notions. I decided to go for it.”
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he process of Meera competing in the Miss South Carolina USA pageant started in 2018 when she competed as Miss Gamecock. She placed in the top five and fell in love with the pageant, the directors and developed friendships with the other competitors. She decided to keep going; in 2019 she competed again and placed in the top 10. After a Covid-19 pandemic break, she competed in 2021 when she went as Miss Greenville. “Fast forward to March of 2022 and I told myself I was just going to have fun and not stress about it,” said Meera. “They call the top 16 for the Miss division and my name was there. They called back for the top 10 and then the top five to answer onstage questions. My question was, ‘With it being International Woman’s Month who is a woman who inspired you? A non-public, non-family member?’ My answer was Miss South Carolina 1980 Donna Lifchez. I was in the top five and I wasn’t stressed this year.” When the emcee called Meera’s name for the title of Miss South Carolina, she couldn’t contain herself—the tears began flowing. “It was so real at that moment. I worked so hard for this to come true. I still have no words. It was an experience of a lifetime,” she recalls. When Meera was asked her onstage question at this year’s pageant, the answer came easy to her. Meera knew Donna and her husband from an early age when she
used to take music lessons at Donna’s husband’s music company in town. Then Donna devoted time to helping Meera when she first started competing in the Miss Wildcat pageant at Lexington High School. “The way she pours herself into myself and the girls she works with is admirable, and she invests her time and resources (in us). She made my opening number outfit this year. She can dress me like no one else,” said Meera. “She’s an incredible human being who gives so much of herself and she pushed herself like no one else has. Even when I didn’t believe in myself, she did. She is the first to give me the tough love I needed.” While Donna encouraged Meera on the pageant scene, her parents also encouraged her at home. Rutu and Nicole Bhonsle, originally from Central India and El Salvador respectively, moved to South Carolina from New York a couple of years before Meera was born. Her parents met in Virginia at a Bible college and Meera points out that her mom had plans to be a nun but that plan never came to fruition. After a quick elopement, the couple eventually settled in Lexington after a church friend encouraged Rutu to move down south. The couple owns a dry cleaning and alterations business, Zebra Cleaners, with several locations scattered around Lexington. Meera explains that her mom naturally found the business after needing to find a job and knew she could do this herself. “They’ve operated their business for 27 years in Lexington. A lot of customers have watched my brothers and me grow up. That’s what’s so special about Lexington--seeing local people support my parents’ business. We’re so thankful for our customers here in Lexington,” said Meera. Meera explains that her dad always wanted his first-generation American kids to strive for greatness and was strict especially concerning reading and writing. She recalls when her dad would push her and her older brother, Rajiv, to write a story every day. “My dad was passionate about lexingtonlife.com
Catch up with Meera! facebook.com/misssouthcarolinausa @MissScUSA MissSCUSA2022@gmail.com misssouthcarolinausa.com
reading and writing. It was just drilled into us. As I got into high school, I realized how important it was to be literate and have skills to write an email, etc. A lot of my peers didn’t have that experience,” Meera remarks. This passion for reading and writing drove Meera to start researching childhood literacy rates. The low rates in South Carolina alarmed her and she knew she wanted to help young kids enjoy reading and writing. “These kids are our future leaders so we want to make sure they have opportunities and are equipped with a skillset. The more research I did, I found out there is a need for literacy,” said Meera with passion. Her father’s passion for reading and writing also pushed Meera into journalism. The Gamecock graduate studied journalism at the University of South Carolina and went on to work for Midlands Media Group in Columbia doing radio work and writing news stories. “My ultimate goal is to work in lifestyle and entertainment broadcast but I’m open to anything right now and just letting the Lord take me where he wants to take me. Miss South Carolina is my full time job now,” said Meera. Reigning as Miss South Carolina USA, Meera loves going into the schools talking with the kids and helping them enjoy reading as a pleasure, not a chore. Her platform is Reading is Leading stemming from her childhood where she learned to love the written word. “I love going into schools and seeing kids and going into the lower income schools around the state and seeing kids who don’t have as much opportunity,” said Meera. “I want to be able to impart in them a dream and a footprint on their hearts as a reminder that they can achieve what they can. I am also conscientious of choosing books on goals or picking books that kids would like.” Childhood illiteracy is something Meera is passionate about and something she wants to be able to instill in kids who may not have had the opportunity like she did. She says she is incredibly thankful for her hometown love and support and the kind words don’t go unnoticed. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you look like, your dreams can come true if you believe. Trusting God is important too. I’m a firm believer in trying and to keep going because you never know. That prayer you’ve been praying and the dream you’ve been chasing can come true,” said Meera. n July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 31
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Cool Easy Summer
Delights ROAST BEEF HORSE RADISH ROLLUPS 2 -8 oz. packages fat-free cream cheese, softened 3 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish 3 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard 12 -12 inch flour tortillas 30 spinach leaves, washed with stems removed 1 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced cooked deli roast beef 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese Beat the cream cheese, horseradish, and mustard together in a bowl until well blended. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over each tortilla. Arrange spinach leaves evenly over the tortillas. Place two slices of roast beef over the cream cheese. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, dividing evenly between tortillas. Starting at one end, gently roll up each tortilla into a tight tube. Wrap with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep the rolls tight. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. To serve for lunch, unwrap and slice into 2 or 3 pieces. Only cut the rolls you will be using that day so the others do not dry out. To serve for parties, unwrap and slice the rolls diagonally into 1 inch sections, and arrange on a serving platter. 36 | LEXINGTON LIFE | July 2022
SIMPLE EGG SALAD 6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 1/4 c. chopped cucumber 3 tbsp. ranch dressing 1 tbsp. mustard salt and ground black pepper to taste Combine eggs, cucumber, ranch dressing, mustard, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Serve on bread, wraps or crackers. CHICKEN, AVOCADO AND MANGO SALAD 2 tbsp. brown sugar 1/4 c. water 1/3 c. lime juice 1/2 c. chili garlic sauce 4 c. shredded, cooked chicken 2 medium mangos - peeled, seeded and diced 2 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced 1 -10 oz. package spring lettuce mix In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then pour into a medium bowl. Stir in the garlic chili sauce and lime juice. Set the dressing aside. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, mangos and avocados. Arrange the spring salad mix on serving plates, then top with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture. Pour dressing over the top. CREAMY FRUIT DIP 1 -8 oz. package cream cheese, softened 1 -7 oz. jar marshmallow creme 3 drops vanilla extract In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine the cream cheese and marshmallow creme. Blend until smooth. Add the vanilla. Continue blending until the mixture is thick and creamy. RUM FRUIT SALAD 1 cantaloupe - peeled, seeded, and cubed 1 honeydew melon - peeled, seeded, and cubed 4 large fresh peaches - peeled, pitted, and sliced 3 oranges, peeled and sliced 3 c. sliced fresh strawberries 2 large mangoes - peeled, seeded, and chopped 4 kiwis, peeled and sliced 1 pt. blueberries 1 pt. fresh raspberries 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar 1/2 c. coconut-flavored rum (such as Malibu®) 1 c. miniature marshmallows 1/2 c. shredded coconut Combine cantaloupe, honeydew melon, peaches, oranges, strawberries, mangoes, kiwis, blueberries, and raspberries in a large bowl. Whisk cream, confectioners’ sugar, and rum together in a bowl until smooth; fold in marshmallows. Pour cream mixture over fruit and toss to coat. Cover bowl and refrigerate, stirring frequently, until chilled and flavors soak into fruit, 8 hours to overnight. Spoon fruit salad into serving bowls and sprinkle with coconut. lexingtonlife.com
July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 37
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David Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at email@example.com.
Jacob and Mary Martin had just turned 40, and six children and three grandchildren lived close by. They all walked to town this hot July afternoon to hear the Town Crier. Jacob counted 100 men with their families in John’s Tavern. The whole Village was there. Jacob knew them all. He’d fought the French and Indian War with many of them when they were 18. He nodded at them, and remembered how excited they all were to follow Colonel Washington. He remembered the boys who didn’t survive. Jacob and Mary’s daily prayers were to spare their children from war. Jacob struggled every night, seeing in dreams the first of many men he had killed. Every neighbor had the same dreams. They quietly discussed praying their children could be spared those dreams. Many in Jacob’s Village had helped stand guard against Indian raids after the War. Jacob’s boys had sat with him on guard duty as messengers, and luckily they’d had no trouble. But his brother Peter lived to the west, and Peter’s family and neighbors had been caught by surprise and brutally killed. Jacob had learned the hard way one must guard what one loves. Mary’s sister Martha married Jacob’s younger brother William over in Lexington. Mary was proud and frightened last year to read of Martha and other wives behind trees loading muskets while their husbands shot at the British. The British demanded the Villager’s guns. William and his neighbors refused, and shooting began. Before it was over, Wiliam and Martha lost 93 neighbors. But William and Martha and the other men and women killed 300 Redcoats. When the Crier described Lexington Commons being soaked in blood, Jacob said quietly: “I’m getting too old for this.” He watched men’s reactions to the Lexington news. A full third of his neighbors called for men to kill Patriots like Jacob’s brother. Another third said: “Hold on, we might lose paying customers.” Jacob and the remaining third later discussed how a third of their neighbors wanted them dead, and how another third wouldn’t stop them. Jacob and his friends resolved to know exactly which men were which. The Government had become oppressive over the past few years. They’d finally begun quartering soldiers in people’s homes while the family slept in the barn. It hadn’t yet happened in Jacob’s Village, but thirty-four men shook hands: “It won’t happen long.” The Crier stepped up on a barrel. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another...” For the next twenty minutes men listened and watched one another. The Crier spoke of pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Jacob thought: “I should have been killed long ago. My fortune is my wife, children, and grandchildren. I haven’t lost my honor yet.” Each man understood he’d soon have to kill some of his neighbors, or his neighbors would kill him and his sons. Jacob grasped Mary’s hand.n July 2022 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 39
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